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Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Many great individual performers are rightfully promoted to manager. But you need to understand that there is a difference between being a great performer and leading a team of great performers. In fact, a great leader does not have to be the best performer or know the individual jobs at all. That might be hard for a newly promoted manager to understand. After all if you are a newly appointed manager who had mastered the individual roles of your department you feel that knowledge makes you a better manager. Not so. The qualities that made you a star performer are not the same qualities that will make you an effective leader. Here are leadership philosophies from two well-known management consultants. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker “The...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
HDWe can’t seem to find anyone who wants to work. How many times have you heard that or maybe said that yourself?   Or you may have heard, “Unless I tell them what to do nothing gets done. I can’t trust them to do it themselves.” When I recently heard this I asked the owner to give me an example.   “Well,” he said, “I have given them detailed directions of exactly what I want done and they don’t do it the way I told them.” “Wait a minute,” I said, “Didn’t you just say that you wanted them to take ownership?”   If you want employees to take ownership you must empower them to make decisions as to the best way to get things done. If this is a source of frustration to you, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First of all, have you provided her with...

Posted by on in Coaching
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” That line from the movie Cool Hand Luke highlights a fundamental problem. There are many times in our business and personal lives where we don’t achieve a desired result from directing, explaining, or urging action. I would like to concentrate here on the “urging action.” Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what YOU want them to do because THEY want to do it.” Let’s now use that quote and relate it to coaching. Coaching is not telling people what they need to do. On the contrary. It is helping them find the direction within themselves to solve a problem. Coaching is a process between a coach and a person being coached that helps the person being coached produce big results in their lives, careers, or business by deepening learning and improve performance and quality of life. The transformational part...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
If you were just appointed manager what is now your new responsibility? In the earlier times of business and industry the role of a manager was not that complex. The manager oversaw what employees did. People performed or were fired. This traditional boss is no longer effective and no longer welcome. Management today is more complex. There are really two parts: management and leadership. As manager you are responsible for the performance of your team, your business, or your company. In essence, the buck stops with you. That does not mean that you do everything yourself. It also does not mean that you offload your responsibility to your employees. It means that you get results with your people. That means that you must delegate with confidence. You must be confident because you can only delegate tasks and even authority but you can never delegate your responsibility. An effective manager must still...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Someone else cannot motivate you. Motivation comes from within. However, that does not mean that help someone find his or her inner motivation. Only when you focus on the other person rather than what you won’t will you start to see results with other people. Start with yourself. And to be specific start with the WHY. Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter. Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated. Knowing what motivates you is a key to achievement and knowing how to find motivation in others is a key to leadership. Dwight Eisenhower said that leadership is getting others to do what you want because THEY want to do it. Reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. Find your passion. If you are not what you are passionate about start by doing a dream inventory. List every dream you have....

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Does your leadership lack inspiration, innovation, and the ability to adapt to change? As a leader your role is to navigate your organization or your team through the uncertainties. Sometimes the good and necessary management skills such as planning, directing and controlling create roadblocks because they are missing the inspirational leadership. The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. That’s right. If all of the students fail the exam, then the fault lies with the teaching. Like students you and your staff may not be on the same page. You may be a great manager but you may fail as a leader. We can influence the process through which people recognize our leadership by creating an environment where people will join “the team” because they see the purpose. They understand the vision and the “big picture” as well as the...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   If the answer to that question is no, then you may not have the power to lead. You may have the management role with the authority but there is a difference between power and authority. As the owner or manager you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. Have you noticed there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. They may have no title at all and people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills. How much power do you do you have? Why not find out. Ask your colleagues or employees to give you...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
George S. Patton said, “Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” As a business leader you need to be in control of your business BUT you don’t need to be a control freak. Taking that route leads to being overwhelmed. As a sole entrepreneur you, of course, need to control everything but once you decide to grow being a control freak will hold you back. Once you hire employees your job becomes managing results of others rather than doing everything yourself. If you don’t do that effectively you will spend all of your time driving the fire truck and putting out fires. You’ll worry about how to do every detail but you will lose sight of the big picture. Why is this problematic? If you hire a new employee but continue to try to do everything without delegating,...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Why do you really want to do this? That is one of the most powerful questions you can ask someone. Motivation to do something comes from within and it begins with a WHY. I was recently working with one of my Westchester County NY coaching clients on his business development. He was struggling with his growth and was having trouble getting his team on board. He was having a hard time accomplishing the objectives that we have worked on together in his plan. These were the goals that he had established in previous sessions. After failing to complete some of the tasks we had outlined from our previous meetings over several weeks, I asked him these questions, “Why did you set these goals and if was important why have you not begun to execute on what you set out to do?” He responded that that was a very good question. He...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Some people feel that being a control freak or a micro manager is necessary when managing a project team where accuracy or compliance is required. I disagree. There is a much better way to get desired results and hold people accountable. Yes, you must have accuracy and compliance but you could stifle your company growth, have high turnover, and end up working way too many hours when you decide to micro manage. Let’s consider some actual examples. I have worked with a person owns a business that includes insurance and real estate. He has a dozen employees involved in the process of sales and contracts. Each person has a job title but not a job description. Things change quickly as does the mood of the owner. To make matters worse people are asked to do a task but then later the owner comes by and says, “stop doing that, I want...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Today we use GPS devices everywhere. We have them in our car and on our phone. We use them to order a car on Uber or we use them to find a restaurant nearby. We have become more productive and less stressed because we have used this very simple tool to help us navigate. What is so remarkable about this instrument? First of all, it lets you know where you are now. Then you can decide where you want to go. The GPS then gives you step by step directions. How similar is this to your personal GPS; the one for your career, your business, and your personal life? Are you using a GPS for these critical areas of your life? Here is the place where we talk about goals. You have heard this over and over, “You need to set goals and you need to write them down.” But what...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Building a high performing team is more about motivation and inspiration than it is about attaching blame. In order to have a high performing team you need to look in the mirror and ask, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   In other words what type of leader are you. If you are not sure why not ask the people around you to give you some guidance. And if you have employees make sure you ask them.   Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. Asking others for their opinions conveys respect, shows that you value their feedback and increases your credibility as a leader. Of course that’s assuming that you are open to the feedback and will actually commit to making changes. It’s easy for people to not feel comfortable giving you the total “honest” truth at first,...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
I believe that motivation is the primary force behind goal achievement. Motivation comes from within and that means that you cannot motivate another person. You can, however, help create a spark to ignite their inner fire. That inner fire will drive motivation. What about you? Do you have something burning inside you? Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter. Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated. Knowing what motivates you is a key to achievement and knowing how to find motivation in others is a key to leadership. Dwight Eisenhower said that leadership is getting others to do what you want because THEY want to do it. Reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. What is your passion? If you are not sure why not start by doing a dream inventory. List every dream you have. How many did you list?...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Can you really get employees from different generations work together? Yes you can bridge the workplace generation gap.  As I work with client organizations I constantly hear voices of frustration. It could involve a catering manager who says “The kids today don’t want to work. I can’t get any good help.” It might be a manager of a team of professionals complaining about the unwillingness of the younger members to work endless hours. Or it can be frustration from an employee who feels he or she can’t compete with the new workers and the new technology. Really, this is nothing new. In fact it goes back to ancient Greece when Aristotle said, “The young people would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning.” Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. They were associated with many of the social...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
The most common question a new manager is asked by direct reports is, “What is your leadership style?” And of course the answer is always, “I am participative.” Or, “I have an open door.” Rarely does anyone define what they mean by that. For that reason and others the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. Today I had the opportunity to be part of a group invited to listen to Ken Blanchard discussing building trust, creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, leadership and organizational change. Ken reinforces some of the values and beliefs that been proven to create positive corporate cultures. You have it wrong if you consider yourself a leader because you have been placed in charge. On the other hand a person with no direct reports can be a very effective leader. The reason that is so is that you need to learn how to...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Leaders of high performing teams say what needs happen then rely on the team to get it done. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." -- Gen. George S. Patton   "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."                -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower On this Independence Day it might be appropriate to recall leadership quotes from some of our past military leaders. It is not surprising that many great civilian leaders that we have known have received their leadership lessons in the US military. The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone has to have a management style like Patton. Those were his traits. People with totally...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
A high performing team is always created by an effective leader. Conversely, if an organization is full of performance issues you need only to look at leadership to diagnose the cause of the problem.   An organization is only as good as its people and as leader your first duty is to select the best people. After you have hired the best people your challenge as a leader is to keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In our business climate it is not enough to be good, you must exceed customers’ expectations. This takes a coordinated effort of individuals that work together toward a common goal. You may have heard it said that there is no “I” in team. This is true and it means that individuals who are qualified and intelligent but do not work...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
You need a balanced approach to management in order to obtain great business results. Why? You need it because your organization will have multiple goal categories, goals and action steps. The flawless execution of these action steps will result in a loyal customer base. The end result will be more sales and profits. But how do you keep it all on track? The Balanced Scorecard, in my opinion, is the best way to stay focused on all of the organization’s goals and keep your staff on track too. Very simply a balanced scorecard is an ideal form of performance measurement. The business leaders identify a small number of financial and non-financial measures and attach goals to them. When the results are reviewed it is possible to determine whether current performance 'meets expectations. By alerting managers to areas where performance deviates from expectations, they can be encouraged to focus their attention on...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
There is a difference between being a great performer and leading a team of great performers. In fact, a great leader does not have to be the best performer or even a performer at all. That is hard to understand if you are a newly appointed manager who had mastered the individual roles of your department. Because of you great work you have been promoted to manager. But the qualities that made you a star performer are not the same qualities that will make you an effective leader. Here are leadership philosophies from two well-known management consultants. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” —Kenneth Blanchard You can learn the skills of a leader just like you learned...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
In order to lead others you must first be able to lead yourself. Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   If the answer to that question is no then you may not have the power to lead. You see there is a difference between power and authority. If you are a manager or you own your own business you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. You may have noticed in your workplace that people without titles have been sought out by others for advice and approval. They have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills not their job title. When working with leadership teams here in Westchester County NY I ask the question, "How much power do you have?" If...

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